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State v. Meadows

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Richland

December 2, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
DANIEL MEADOWS Defendant-Appellee

          Criminal appeal from the Mansfield Municipal Court of Common Pleas, Case Nos. 2018TRC04641 and 19TRC00293

         JUDGMENT: Affirmed in part; reversed in part; vacated in part and remanded

          For: Plaintiff-Appellee JOSEPH R. REED Assistant Law Director City of Mansfield

          For: Defendant-Appellant JOHN C. O'DONNELL

          JUDGES: Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J., Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J., Hon. Earle E. Wise, J.

          OPINION

          GWIN, P.J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant Daniel Meadows ["Meadows"] appeals his conviction and sentence after a jury trial in the Mansfield Municipal Court, Richland County, Ohio.

         Facts and Procedural History

         {¶2} On May 13, 2018, Trooper Robert Warner of the Ohio State Patrol initiated a stop of a vehicle for driving left of center. Meadows was driving the vehicle. As Trooper Warner approached and spoke with Meadows, the trooper noticed an odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle. Upon further questioning, Meadows admitted to having drunk one beer that evening.

         {¶3} Trooper Warner requested Meadows perform the Walk and Turn, One Leg Stand, and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus tests. Based on Meadows's performance on these tests, Trooper Warner determined that Meadows was under the influence and placed him under arrest for Operating a Vehicle under the Influence. Meadows subsequently refused to submit to a breath test after Trooper Warner had read him the BMV 2255 form. Meadows was charged for OVI "under the influence" in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a) in case number 18 TRC 4641[1].

         {¶4} On January 11, 2019, the state filed a second charge in Case Number 19 TRC 293[2] under R C 4511.19(A) (2), which provides that when Defendant has a prior conviction in twenty years and it is a refusal, then the minimum sentence is six days. In that case, it was alleged that Meadows had a prior OVI in 2005.

         {¶5} Meadows filed a Motion to Dismiss in case number 19 TRC 293 on Speedy Trial grounds. A hearing was held on January 29, 2019 prior to the Trial. The trial court overruled the Motion to Dismiss.

         {¶6} Trial proceeded and a jury found Meadows guilty on both charges. The trial court sentenced Meadows on both convictions.

         Assignments of Error

         {¶7} "I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN OVERRULING DEFENDANT/APPELLANT' S MOTION TO DISMISS PURSUANT TO ORC §2945.71.

         {¶8} "II. DEFENDANT/APPELLANT'S CONVICTION FOR A VIOLATION OF ORC §4511.19(A)(1) WAS TAINTED BY THE INADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE OF A PRIOR CONVICTION.

         {¶9} "III. THE COURT COMMITTED PLAIN ERROR BY IMPOSING SEPARATE SENTENCES.

         {¶10} "IV. TRIAL COUNSEL WAS INEFFECTIVE IN VIOLATION OF THE SIXTH AMENDMENT FOR FAILURE TO OBJECT TO THE TRIAL COURT'S SENTENCING ON THE ALLIED OFFENSES OF SIMILAR IMPORT."

         I.

         {¶11} In his First Assignment of Error, Meadows contends that the OVI in Case number 19 TRC 293 is the same OVI charged in Case Number 18 TRC 4641. Meadows notes that the only difference between the two cases is that in Case Number 19 TRC 293 the state alleged a prior conviction within 20 years. Therefore, Meadows argues the state was required to bring him to trial within 90-days of his arrest. Because he was not brought to trial within that period of time, Meadows contends the trial court erred in overruling his motion to dismiss Case Number 19 TRC 293.

         STANDARD OF APPELLATE REVIEW.

         {¶12} Speedy trial provisions are mandatory and are encompassed within the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The availability of a speedy trial to a person accused of a crime is a fundamental right made obligatory on the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. State v. Ladd, 56 Ohio St.2d 197, 200, 383 N.E.2d 579 (1978). "The statutory speedy trial provisions, R.C. 2945.71 et seq., constitute a rational effort to enforce the constitutional right to a public speedy trial of an accused charged with the commission of a felony or a misdemeanor and shall be strictly enforced by the courts of this state." State v. Pachay 64 Ohio St.2d 218, 416 N.E.2d 589 (1980), syllabus.

         {¶13} Our review of a trial court's decision regarding a motion to dismiss based upon a violation of the speedy trial provisions involves a mixed question of law and fact. State v. Larkin, 5th Dist. No.2004-CA-103, 2005-Ohio-3122, 2005 WL 1463255, ¶11. As an appellate court, we must accept as true any facts found by the trial court and supported by competent, credible evidence. State v. Taylor, 5th Dist. Richland No. 16 CA 17, 2016-Ohio-5912, 2016 WL 5118653, ¶ 43, citing Larkin, supra. With regard to the legal issues, however, we apply a de novo standard of review and thus freely review the trial court's application of the law to the facts. Id.

         {¶14} When reviewing the legal issues presented in a speedy-trial claim, we must strictly construe the relevant statutes against the state. Brecksville v. Cook, 75 Ohio St.3d 53, 57, 661 N.E.2d 706, 709 (1996); State v. Colon, 5th Dist. Stark No. 09-CA-232, 2010-Ohio-2326, 2010 WL 2060900, ¶ 12.

         ISSUE FOR APPEAL.

         Whether the trial court permissibly extended the trial date beyond the R. C. 2945.71 time prescriptions.

         {¶15} A person charged with a first degree misdemeanor shall be brought to trial within ninety days after the person's arrest or ...


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